Schalke wins German Cup
Schalke routed second-division side Duisburg 5-0 in the German Cup final on Saturday to claim the trophy for the fifth time and qualify for the Europa League.
Julian Draxler scored a spectacular opener in the 18th minute, before goals in each half from Dutch striker Klaas Jan Huntelaar, and one each from Benedikt Hoewedes and Jose Manuel Jurado consigned Duisburg to its fourth cup final loss.
Schalke - which finished 14th in the league and made it to the semifinals of the Champions League - last won the cup in 2002.
It was most likely Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer's last game for the club before an expected move to Bayern Munich.
If so, it was a fitting sendoff for the Schalke captain as he lifted the trophy to get the festivities under way.
''It's a very nice feeling to celebrate with your own fans,'' Neuer said. ''I didn't think we'd win the game so comprehensively.''
However, he refused to comment on his future and said it was still unclear whether he's leaving.
''I have no idea,'' Neuer said. ''I'm waiting like everyone else. You'd need to ask those responsible.''
Striker Raul Gonzalez - who had never won the Spanish Cup in 16 seasons at Real Madrid - led the celebrations with a Spanish flag and his trademark bullfighting routine.
''I had to come to Germany to win the cup. I'm very proud and happy to have won it,'' the 33-year-old said. ''This must be celebrated. We're back in Europe.''
Schalke secured its place in the final by beating Bayern Munich under Felix Magath, before he was fired as coach and replaced by Ralf Rangnick, who lost the cup final with Schalke in 2005.
''It was a dramatic year with many ups and downs,'' defender Christoph Metzelder said. ''There is hardly a team who deserve it as much as we do.''
In front of 75,708 fans in Berlin's sold-out Olympic Stadium, Neuer was called into action in the 11th, when he reacted smartly to cut off Olcay Sahan's ball forward for Manuel Schaeffler.
The first real chance fell to Schalke, however, when United States goalkeeper David Yelldell denied Kyriakos Papadopoulos' powerful header in the 15th.
Draxler - already the competition's youngest ever scorer - made his mark three minutes later. Jefferson Farfan played the ball forward and the 17-year-old Draxler took one touch with his left foot before unleashing a perfect volley from 16 meters (yards) with his right.
Huntelaar beat the offside trap to score in the 22nd, sweeping the ball past the helpless Yelldell after another through ball from Farfan.
''A super atmosphere,'' Huntelaar said. ''It was great to play here.''
Schalke should have made it 3-0 just 10 minutes later when Farfan opted to shoot from a narrow angle with Huntelaar in a better position.
Sahan then shot over, and Schaeffler twice fired straight at Neuer as Duisburg tried to get back in the game.
Hoewedes - a defender - effectively killed the game before the interval when he got ahead of Yelldell to head in Farfan's corner in the 42nd.
''We conceded the goals too cheaply,'' Duisburg captain Ivica Grlic said. ''After that you no longer have a chance against such a team.''
Yelldell - who made his debut for the U.S. against Paraguay in March - prevented Jurado from scoring after the restart, but was powerless to stop the Spaniard calmly slotting past him in the 55th.
Huntelaar scored his second after a defensive mix-up in the 70th, prompting an exodus of dejected Duisburg fans from the stadium.
''The team has achieved so much this season. It just didn't work out today,'' Duisburg coach Mila Sasic said.
Schalke equaled the biggest ever cup final win - another 5-0 rout by Schalke in 1972 over Kaiserslautern.
''Schalke had an incredible season with so many lows, but also highs in the cup competitions. I think Schalke deserve it,'' Germany coach Joachim Loew said.